Cluster – Cluster 71

50 years, eh? Astounding, ney unbelievable that this record is that old. When you listen to it, it still sounds like the future, whether you play it on a crackly old LP on a cheap system, the latest reissue (of course its got a 50th anniversary edition, numbered and limited on the ever reliable Bureau B) on a top end hi-fi or even if you just stream it over bluetooth, the thing still positively throbs and hums with a strange energy all of its own.

The 50th anniversary press release from Bureau B seems to poo-poo the idea of calling this music “cosmic” and while that might be a little bit of a cheap adjective, there’s still a very science fiction laboratory-grown feel to the album. The three nameless tracks being nothing short of symphonies of the strange. A wild, echoing abstraction but stripped of the industrial harshness that marked the previous collaboration as Kluster with Conrad Schnitzler.

In fact, if like most people, you worked your way back to it from the better known entries in their catalogue like “Zuckerzeit” or “Sowiesoso” its fair to say that it comes as quite a shock. My early listens were very perplexed by just how dense yet freeform it was. I struggled to reconcile it with what I had heard before. Like floating stoned around a giant machine of unknown origin.

One adjective you can always stick on Cluster with the C is “mellow” despite how alien the sounds on this one are, even to this today there’s nothing I can identify. And, yes, it would make a great soundtrack for a particular bold film set in space, so there!

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